YUN is an innovative Korean eyewear company, but its first (and flagship) store is in the Mitte borough of Berlin. Launched in October 2015, this young brand is reinventing the way that people buy glasses.

At the heart of this is the innovative in-store manufacturing lab, built around a lens finishing system which sits out on the main shop floor in full view of customers. The state-of-the-art high-tech machine means that glasses can be made to fit a customer's exact prescription in as little as 20 minutes.

The store has a built-in manufacturing facility (image courtesy of YUN)

The store stocks more than 12,000 individual blank lenses to ensure it can meet the widest possible array of prescriptions. These are then shaped and finished by the automated machine, before final adjustments are made to the fit. By being able to watch their glasses being made in front of them customers feel more connected to and engaged with the YUN brand.

The technology also adds up to a better customer experience by making shopping for glasses something that can be done in a lunch break or while out shopping or on the spur of the moment. It enables YUN to serve as many customers as possible, while retaining control over the process and quality of its products. Being able to have high quality prescription glasses in their hand on the same day may be an important influencing factor on would-be customers.

YUN also operates a simple pricing model with frames and tailored prescription lenses costing either €99 or €149. This includes a free eye test, which is carried out in-store by the qualified opticians in dedicated examination rooms. All of the frames styles are designed in-house in Korea with the aim of being lightweight, allergy-free, comfortable, durable and flexible. To complete the experience customers get four weeks to try their new glasses and if they’re not happy can return them.

Consultation rooms at the YUN store (image courtesy of YUN)

Since launching its physical store, YUN has also enabled customers to order glasses directly from its website if they hold a valid prescription. This has widened its potential customer base to anyone around the world, with the multilingual website acting as an important touch point for shoppers.

Customers can also book their free in-store eye test from the website, as well as being able to walk in off the street on a whim. Although it is a relatively simple digital application in integrating with the booking system in-store, it helps reduce friction for customers. It's also in keeping with the entire identity of the store, which is built around the idea of minimalism, from the packaging to the way the glasses are simply displayed on tables.

YUN's store in Berlin has a unique look (image courtesy of YUN)

YUN is a fantastic example of a retailer disrupting the normal way of doing things, much as we've seen with companies like Uber. Its innovative use of technology goes beyond the normal digital applications to create something unique – something many retailers can learn from.

Cate Trotter is head of trends at Insider Trends. Insider Trends is a retail trends consultancy delivering retail safaris in London, New York and Berlin, as well as trend presentations and workshops that help retailers identify what's next and how to get ahead.